SCOTTISH Borders Council leader Shona Haslam says she is looking forward to a policy that would prevent strip clubs from setting up in the region.

At a full council meeting on Thursday (March 25), members discussed whether SBC should take on new licensing powers for sexual entertainment venues (SEVs).

According to a report put to councillors, “a SEV is any premises at which sexual entertainment is provided before a live audience for financial gain and where its purpose is the sexual stimulation of members of the audience”.

There are currently no SEVs in the Borders and during the meeting Mrs Haslam said she was looking forward to passing a policy to ensure “no such venues” appear in the region.

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“This is an issue that is close to the heart of many of us,” said Mrs Haslam, of the Conservatives. “It is not just about the sexual entertainment venue, it’s about everything that goes along with that.

“I’m looking forward to the licensing arrangement and look forward to a policy that will clearly say that we will be having no such venues in the Borders.”

Members agreed to take on the extra licensing powers, meaning any SEV wishing to operate legally would be required to apply to the council for a licence.

A consultation process was carried out by the council between November and February, asking the public what they thought about SBC adopting a resolution to licence SEVs.

This resulted in 80 responses, with 66 of those in favour of the council adopting the resolution.

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John Greenwell, a Conservative representative for Mid Berwickshire, said: “While there are currently no sexual entertainment venues in the Borders, who is to say that some business may want to expand and open one in our area in the future.

“Having a resolution in place will mean we’re in a position to regulate and control any such proposed venture and be in the position to refuse such a venture.”

Selkirkshire councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol, who is part of the council’s licensing board, has been conducting research into SEVs by examining papers and consultations from other Scottish councils.

“The reading of some of these papers is absolutely harrowing,” said Ms Thornton-Nicol, of the SNP. “Do not be mistaken, we need to undertake the recommendations in this paper now. Right now.

“Doing nothing is not an option. We would have no control, we would increase the risk to women and girls.

“We would increase the risk of money laundering. We would increase the risks for the movement of drugs through the Borders. It is not worth that risk.”

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Having accepted the recommendation to take on the powers, the council will now create a SEV policy statement.

The draft statement would include matters such as the proposed appropriate number of SEVs – if any – to be permitted, as well as the measures the council would expect applicants to have in place for a number of issues, such as reducing violence against women.

This will then go out to consultation for members of the public to give their opinions.